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Engaging Methuen Readers


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4 Things You Didn’t Know About Sherlock Holmes

That’s right, kids: it’s Sherlock time! The world’s greatest detective (other than Batman) was born on January 6, 1854. He is now 165 years young and still the most filmed fictional character in the world. Here’s a little Sherlock trivia for true fans and movie nights.

1. He’s been on screen more than 254 times

As of 2012, Holmes had been portrayed on film an average of three times per year since his TV debut in 1938. This statistic comes to us courtesy of the good people at Guinness Book of World Records, who must have spent an awfully long time counting up Holmes appearances. That figure doesn’t even count more modern Holmes portrayals, such as the spoof that currently stars Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly.

In case you’re dying to see some obscure Holmes on screen, then the MVLC library system can connect you with such wonders as Young Sherlock Holmes, where Sherlock is a hip teen; The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother, where Gene Wilder tries desperately and hilariously to live up to the real deal; and Sherlock Gnomes, which only gets away with that pun because it’s for kids. See the whole list here!

2. Holmes claimed he used drugs because he got bored between cases

Sherlock was addicted to both cocaine and morphine, which were technically legal in Victorian England. That said, their adverse health effects were well known to the medical community. Holmes’ friend, the medical doctor Watson, wasn’t anywhere near as bumbling in the books as he’s generally portrayed on-screen, and he voiced considerable alarm at Holmes’ drug use. In return, his friend shot him down with one of the lamest excuses in literature: he was bored. Here’s what he had to say in Chapter 1 of The Sign of the Four:

“My mind,” he said, “rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation. That is why I have chosen my own particular profession,—or rather created it, for I am the only one in the world.”

Maybe do a puzzle instead?

3. The TV show House was based on Sherlock Holmes

Suspend your disbelief for a minute and consider that Gregory House solved unsolvable medical mysteries through deduction, had a drug problem, and had a friend named Wilson. House is a close match for Home, which sounds like Holmes. Wilson and Watson are also close. House even lives at an address numbered 221b. Best of all, Hugh Laurie himself confirms that the surly doc was modeled on the Victorian detective.

4. Sherlock has never been played by a woman…until now!

It’s not surprising that a male detective from the Victorian era is generally played by guys. At the same time, there’s been a female Watson, a female Doctor Who, and lots of modernized adaptations of Sherlock Holmes himself. If Holmes can be a grumpy doctor, a garden ornament, and a New Yorker. Why not a lady?

In fact, a female Sherlock, who lives in Japan, is set to release on HBO Asia.

There’s one caveat that needs pointing out, however. Holmes hasn’t been played on-screen by a woman, but literature is a completely different story. In the Eleanor Arnason story Holmes Sherlock, an alien woman studying Earth literature adopts the stylistic peculiarities of Sherlock Holmes when she becomes enchanted by Arthur Conan Doyle’s mysteries. Incidentally, this alien’s people are universally homosexual and female-led. You can read the entire story here!

 

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Author Event: Hallie Ephron

Nevins Library Presents:

 Hallie Ephron

July 10th @ 6:30pm

Please join us as we welcome New York Times Best Selling author Hallie Ephron to the Nevins Library!

Hallie will be here to talk about her latest book, You’ll Never Know, DearPublisher’s Weekly said this book is an “engaging portrait of three generations of bickering, bull-headed, but loving women challenged to become their bravest and best selves.” A little about the book:

Lissie Woodham was only seven years old when her little sister Janey disappeared. They had been in the front yard, playing with their dolls, custom creations made for them by their mother Miss Sorrel, a famous dollmaker. Lissie wandered off for a moment. When she returned to the yard, Janey was gone, and so was her doll.

Now an adult with a college-aged daughter of her own, Lis has never stopped blaming herself for what happened, and it continues to haunt her. Every year on the anniversary of Janey’s disappearance, Miss Sorrel places a classified ad in the local papers with a picture of Janey’s one-of-a-kind doll, offering a cash reward for its return. Never, in all these years, has anyone brought her a doll that could be Janey’s—until now. Four decades after Janey went missing, a woman responds to the ad with a broken porcelain doll.

What begins as a small clue in a tragic cold case turns into something far more sinister. The women in Miss Sorrel’s family may be in danger, because whoever knows the truth about what happened all those years ago will do anything to keep it hidden.

Ms. Ephron is also the author of Night Night, Sleep Tight and four other mystery books.

Copies of her books will be available for purchase and signing. 

Refreshments will be available.

To register for this program, click here.

For more information, contact Sarah   978-686-4080 x20   ssullivan@nevinslibrary.org


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Atmospheric Mysteries

Recently I finished the Tana French mystery series set in Dublin. A strong part of its appeal is the glimpse into modern Ireland today, with its uneasy mix of rich but tragic history and twenty-first century commercialism and economic problems. That got me thinking about how crucial atmosphere is to the success of many of the best mystery series today, along with strong plotting and memorable characters.

There are so many great series out there that it’s hard to know where to start, but here are a few:

Donna Leon’s Guido Brunetti series, set in Venice

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Colin Cotterill’s series starring crime reporter Jimm Juree, set in Thailand

The Scandinavians, including Steig Larsson, Henning Mankell, and Jo Nesbo:

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Alexander McCall Smith, who has evocative series in settings as disparate as Botswana and Scotland

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And there are many, many more…what other mystery series stand out to you because of their setting?